Yesterday was the 16th day of 100+ degrees of heat in North Texas this summer, and it’s only mid July. That number is roughly the number of days we typically get in a full summer… This is my least favorite time of year in Texas by far, and it has me thinking about the importance of place and location in our daily lives.
The picture above is of the living room of the 5th floor walk-up apartment I lived in with a host family in Copenhagen, Denmark. I was a complete beginner with my brand new (non-digital) camera and thought adding the date to the pictures was a great feature. Needless to say, I was annoyed when I finally got home and had the film developed. It’s a time and place of which I have very fond memories. For me it’s evocative of all the things that my time abroad included – excitement, novelty, and friendship – along with the crisp air and the cross breeze blowing through the open windows on the fifth floor.
It was a great place to live while exploring Europe and neglecting my grades… Below is a picture of the building across from ours covered in fall leaves. I couldn’t resist taking a picture of it so that I wouldn’t forget.
As somewhat of an observer by nature, I may be more sensitive than most to my surroundings, but I’ve always believed that they influence our lives way more than we might expect. I recently came across a book addressing exactly this premise…
It’s a very interesting book called The Power of Place: How Our Surroundings Shape Our Thoughts, Emotions, and Actions by Winifred Gallagher.
She discusses the impact on human life of light (or lack thereof), temperature (extreme heat and cold), and even various levels of stimulation (from quiet environments to bustling cities). If you’ve ever been curious about the role of place in your life, it’s worth checking out.
Note: If you’ve heard about Gallagher lately, it’s because of her new book called Rapt: Attention and the Focused Life, which has been reviewed in the New York Times and the Washington Post, among others. I’m very interested to read it next.